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alabaster

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Posts posted by alabaster


  1. On 9/16/2019 at 1:59 PM, Konacha said:

    Yeah, I admit that I could have choose those words "under the rug" a bit better, more like "pretend it didn't exist". Since all we heard from Otakon years ago was that it was handed to the lawyers, the licensed was pulled and that was it. I was hoping for some official statement on something other than what we got. When I heard the quote "handed to the lawyers (I believe this came from an old feedback panel)" I was hoping that we get at least a statement about what happened. I just felt like everything was quiet and that was it. As I said, if another game was announced, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't back it just because of how bad a taste the old one left in my mouth.

    *Nods*  Just to clarify, there really isn't any new information, so the old statement stands.   As I understand it, It's on Studio Nasu and Kickstarter, legally and ethically, to deal with any remaining fallout.  That's just a risk of crowdfunding, really.


  2. 23 hours ago, Konacha said:

    As someone who lost $200 from the game back when it was done (and I only paid that much money because Otakon was supporting it). I would first like to have my money back before any other project was announced as this would be a kick in the teeth for me. Or at least have the people who backed the game have our original ideas and tiers done. Having another game would feel as if Otakon is trying to sweep it under the rug, which they seem to have done already.

    I feel ya.  But I don't think any of that money is coming back.  That's the risk of kickstarter and other crowdfunding. You don't know if the projects will come to pass, and you may not see your investment pay off. That's simply how it works.  The money was spent, and the project failed to produce. We said what we could legally at the time and the statements are on record. There was no sweeping under the rug.

    Let me clarify something here to the best of my understanding, and with the disclaimer that I'm NOT making a statement on behalf of the corporation here -- this is my personal recollection and most of it's been public for a while.

    Otakorp, the organization, provided some seed money (I don't recall the exact amount, but it was thousands of dollars) and licensed our mascot characters and some concepts to the team making the game.  We didn't own the process or have access to the kickstarter process other than as a participant -- that was all the studio making the game. And the folks behind that had a long association with the community and nobody had a reason to doubt their intentions.

    You may notice that my avatar here is "Evil Doctor V" from the concept art.  Fred "Piro" from Megatokyo did some of the concept art and was one of many creative types (including voice actors) who committed to or helped build the prototype.  (My inclusion as a boss was going to be a surprise until our lawyer pointed out that they had to get me to sign off on using my likeness, so the first I heard of it was when I was asked to approve and sign off on the art.)  Since other folks paid to be included,  once the KS launched, I forked over the appropriate donation for that tier (I want to say $400 or $600), since it only seemed fair.   At least I got this out of it, which is a lot more than most folks got.

    Disclaimer:  I have known Fred for like 15-20 years and I certainly could have paid a lot less to be captured in his style.  

    Further disclaimer: Most folks in the industry understand that projects don't always pan out and I think they've written it off long ago. For Otakorp a lot of the value came from the announcement buzz -- but the negative impact of its failure was no picnic.  But for the staff who chipped in, that's money lost just like it is for any members who supported it.  

    And I don't speak for everyone on this, but I suspect that we're a little hesitant to get involved in another game project.

    Still, we're up on MOST conventions in terms of video game credibility:  Otacon, of MGS fame, is named after our event and many MGS materials credit us with allowing them to use the name -- and we always credit Dr Hal Emerich as our scientific adviser in our program book.


  3. On 9/3/2019 at 5:26 PM, rotinoma said:

     

    • Shunji Inoue - Lantis guy, LAZY keyboardisT

    He’s been to otakon a lot, and is a friend. But he rarely performs these days because he essentially runs lantis and typically accompanies JAM project... (not as keyboardist, though).

    the Lazy reunion may have changed his mind.


  4. On 8/15/2019 at 3:21 PM, Krabstarr said:

    This stopped happening in the past couple years, but in the years prior to that, there would be a page on the website with information on Premieres and Special Screenings. It would be really nice if that would come back. I asked on social media this year if it would be back and got a "maybe" gif response, but nothing happened.
    Can we please get the Premieres and Special Screenings page back on the website to make these events more visible?

    I'm sure the web team will make note.  


  5. 18 hours ago, Zeeba Neighba said:

    Good points, all.  But what about my recommendation of a separate entrance line for autograph seekers so we could get to the autograph area without having to deal with the massive mob entering the dealers' room?

    I'll preface this with a big fat disclaimer:  not my job, not my call to make. 

    That said:  The issue is likely access control.  The initial rush of people to the dealer hall is probably the single biggest logistical line management issue in the whole convention. The autograph area is in the dealer hall.  Anything that puts people in that space before it's open properly and the pent-up line of people is processed is ripe for massive abuse and confusion.  You'd have folks standing in the autograph line only to break out and hit the dealer hall, and thus skip the huge long Friday morning line there. It's much the same reason why certain escalators are one-way during key traffic points.

    OR you'd have to assign more staff to make sure nobody popped out from Autographs to go to the other areas.

    But I agree, it would be ideal if we had a way to make autographs its own space more easily. But as the guy who ran guests for many years when we were in Baltimore and stuck with a terribly limited space and virtually no lining area at all, this is a big big improvement. 


  6. As you said, wires got crossed. Sometimes it isn't clear until just a hair too late that that's happened.  With 200+ events on the schedule, it's almost inevitable.

    Privately, I'm going to suggest that Ellyn use a less generic name for her panel to avoid similar mishaps, much like Richard does with his outtakes panel.


  7. On 8/8/2019 at 9:56 PM, ashlynx said:

    -pre-convention communication. I feel like Twitter, Facebook, anywhere fell on deaf ears. I really needed to know who was going to be at artist alley, so I could plan accordingly, but that info got updated HELLA late, practically the day of.

    -the lack of water at the con itself. I've been to other cons where they kept water stations everywhere and kept those suckers filled. I understand this is a way bigger con, but I'd expect at least in all the panel and video rooms, and several for artist and dealer's, there'd be massive amounts of water coolers. At least all the ones I used were filled.

    -I really wish I had known about some of the premieres happening. I literally only found out about Promare during the GKids panel, and I had no idea on City Hunter or Uta Prince. Maybe just advertise these on facebook and twitter and such the week before the con? I mean, if you said something back in february, no chance I'd remember it come July.

    -gawd, the DC traffic! wtf?!

    Hmm. May want to tweak your settings and put Otakon in the "always show" camp.  I was seeing social media posts from Otakon nearly every day, and the info was on the website, IIRC.   A few of the things were confirmed quite late in the day, though. I think the Promare announcement got something like 30k views just on FB.

    Unlike the BCC some years, the water in WWDCC is potable, and I kept refilling my bottle all day. It's something I do at every con -- I refill whenever I see water.  I didn't have much trouble finding a place to do that, but I know we buy less bottled water than we used to because the water fountains by all the bathrooms work just fine. (As do the bathrooms, and there are more of those, too...)  I'd have to check but I think we reduced the number of water stations based on usage patterns; I know we *talked* about that at one point, but I'm not sure we did it.


  8. On 8/8/2019 at 10:29 PM, Zeeba Neighba said:

    Seconded.  I was so looking forward to getting my first ever autograph from a Japanese seiyuu and it didn't pan out.  Perhaps Otakon could only afford to have Inoue in town for just that one day, but IMO, her schedule was far too tightly compressed.  I just wish they hadn't scheduled her autograph session to start so soon after the dealers' room first opened, considering how ridiculously long the lines are just to get into that place on the first day.  Maybe Otakon should should have separate entrance lines just for the autograph sessions.

    Inoue-san is one of the busier actresses, and while she enjoys our show, she had to be back at work on Monday to record [REDACTED].  That's been the case with many of our high profile seiyu, and a reason why east coast cons have more challenges with seiyu in general -- that extra 5-6 hours of travel time makes a big difference. 

    At any rate, it's not a case of not being able to afford her, it's working around her schedule, which unfortunately typically means compressing ours.


  9. On 7/30/2019 at 11:39 AM, RFS said:

     

    The administrative logistics of Otakon has always been pretty bad and this year was no different (and in some ways was worse). We were turned away from stairs for seemingly no good reason. After trying to find the AMV room, a friend and I wound up on an elevator to the correct floor only to be turned away. The guy turning us away said this space was for VIP's. That's fine. But why not shut down the elevator or, I don't know, have proper signage? I saw door keepers holding loud conversations IN the panel rooms which is super distracting. Actually a lot of people thought having conversations in the back of the room was appropriate (spoiler alert: it isn't).

    Suggestions for the Otakon Staff:

    • Proper signage. Do a walk through of the space and get a sense of where good signage would be helpful.
    • The black lanyards I got from picking up my badge were really sharp. Did anyone else think this?
    • Tell the door keepers to not talk. I get that their job is boring but it's very distracting for people who are trying to listen to the panelists.
    • Teasing the AMV Finalists with an AMV entry that you aren't going to show is worthless. Either show it or don't include a title card and don't mention it at all.
    • Do not have building staff or Otakon staff stand in the way of traffic, especially the escalators.
    • Open both doors to allow proper traffic flow.
      • Let people leave before allowing people in.
    • Please bring back Typing of the Dead to the game room

     

    Many of the issues you raise are, unfortunately, pretty intractable. Communicating to 800 of our staff is a big enough challenge , but there are limits in communicating to dozens of building security through proper channels. Frankly, they’ve been massively better here than in Baltimore, but not all of them get the message.  

    We keep adding more signs in key locations, and there are quite a few of them now, as well as roving info desks and several static ones.  Between them, guidebook app, the program book, and the built in signage, there is only so much we can do to help you navigate.

     It also isn’t really possible to shut down elevators or limit their access, but for other closures we would need to have more specifics about where you were denied access, or where staff (ours or the convention center red coats) blocked escalators or entry points.  Chances are there were reasons, but maybe they weren’t communicated well. Or maybe you just didn’t hear.  As for the door control, in most cases the doors are limited specifically to ensure we track entry and exit and avoid overcrowding.  Specific issues would help a lot, because there are a few hundred panels over the course of the con.

    I am perplexed by the issue you reported with AMV theater.  Are you maybe referring to the third floor area where concerts are held, which did have limited access during key periods?  Do you have a room number? Was it a back hallway or something?  There were very few areas that were limited to “VIP” or to guests.


  10. With again the caveat that I'm not running things these days and the Ethan may have a different take....

    That muddy ground is one reason I actively avoided giving "fan guests" the GOH (guest of honor) nod for many years.  There are some fantastic folks out there doing excellent work, but there is definitely a distinction between folks who have "official" status within the industry, and those who don't. The challenge is to honor what they do without causing confusion or trouble with the pros.  (And quite a few of them have crossed into pro status, at which point we might change their listed status.)  It's just a cleaner distinction to make: did you go pro and legit with this? Once you have, then it's a much simpler call to make, because you're adding something significant to the whole deal.  This industry has a LOT of folks in it who started in the grey area and cowboy days, but now are legit, so it's not an unassailable wall.

    If you're running a smaller con, you want a larger list of guests and drawing Big Name Fans can make a big difference, and just as importantly, non-GOH level guests *tend* to only get badges and similar low-cost considerations.

    The questions we typically ask about any potential guest are:

    1. How does this guest advance our mission?  Remember, our mission is about cultural exchange, fundamentally, but certainly with a focus on pop culture. For people already actively involved in professional creation, localization, or distribution, either as production or talent, that's an easy one. For people in academic circles, pro speakers and authors like Roland Kelts and Fred Schodt, it's also an easy call to make.  Because we're a nonprofit, we need to be able to justify what we spend on our guests.
    2. What's their likely draw/appeal?  I've received requests for youtubers with a following in the dozens; that's an easy call. But we've also brought major voice actors and directors from Japan who draw a couple dozen folks at best.  Prestige and name value really kick in here. 
    3. How much content are they bringing?  I've never been a fan of "guests" who do nothing but sit in the dealer or artist halls and sell and sign stuff. That's why we typically require 2 panels or the equivalent from all our GOH guests.
    4. What's the cost of bringing and supporting them?  Japanese guests need bilingual interpreters to handle them, and cost a fair penny to bring. US guests (especially actors) typically have fees these days that range from bargains to tens of thousands of dollars.  Each of them needs a room and food, and that all adds up disturbingly fast.  OTOH, industry support can help mitigate those costs. About a third to half of all our guests come with some help from industry (not always financial); the rest are existing relationships, personal contacts, or direct offers. 
    5. What special challenges do they bring?  Are they known for being "difficult"?  Is their management bad at responding and providing info? Do they miss their at-con obligations? Are there troubling accusations against them? Do they have annoying significant others? Have they pissed off their employer somehow?

    Cost is a big deal, because all things considered, if you're spending $2k minimum on travel/room/board for a guest, you'd rather spend it on a guest who has a draw, who have mission relevance, and who doesn't have a ton of "baggage" to deal with.    

    Just a little insight.


  11. On 1/15/2019 at 3:38 PM, ramenman64 said:

    I'd like to request Nick Landis, Corinne Sudberg, Scott Frerichs, and Curtis Arnott please :)

    I'm going out on a limb here and say there is still a distinction between "guest" and "panelist", which isn't always clear at some smaller events, but which has been pretty consistent at Otakon for many years.  Guests are guests of honor, the names that draw folks to your con, and typically are professionals who have some direct connection to the mission or the industry; panelists typically are fans first, and are not here to support or promote their work or that of their employers. Guests get official status and their travel costs are paid (including fees, where applicable), panelists generally do not get much more than a badge and a place to chill in their downtime.  

    Team Four Star exists in a weird place, because the work they produce is unlicensed parodies of licensed works.  I'm not sure how Ethan feels about it, but I shied away from bringing them as guests because it creates unwanted tension with industry.  Most of their con appearances tend to be "under the radar" -- they're panelists or have a booth someplace. We have had them at Otakon before as panelists, but spotlighting unlicensed works with full "guest of honor" status can be problematic. IIRC, Funi basically ignores the parody works (because they're clearly parody, even if they use enough content to be legally tricky to deal with), but .... 

    The nearest analogy I can come up with is when you pack more than the allowed occupancy in a hotel room.  The hotel really doesn't care too much if you have 6 people in a 4-person room so long as you don't create more work for them with endless towel demands or noise complaints.  But if you draw too much attention, they have to act to protect their bread & butter.


  12. On 11/1/2018 at 5:21 PM, eablack said:

    Hyuna, Daoko, Alan Dawa Dolma, an 18+ panel with any gravure models or hentai writers/voice actors available (autographs afterward hopefully?). In that same vein, also suggesting Marica Hase (first Japanese Penthouse Pet)

    One challenge there is that our contacts are primarily in the animation, gaming, and music industries, and not so much in the world of modeling.  The other is that they’re going to have very little motivation to come.

    When evaluating guests, it’s fairly routine to break down the non-adjustable costs (flights, hotel, etc.) and the negotiable ones. Appearance fees have become more of s thing in recent years, despite the complexities of taxes, payments to overseas agencies, etc.

    Given the same baseline costs (it costs thousands of dollars to bring a guest from Japan, regardless of status), and limited budget, the first question is whether you spend that on someone with broad appeal, or someone with narrower appeal, and the other question is how relevant  that guest is to our mission.  A guest with broad appeal and fantastic relevancy is going to win, but one particularly appealing, or super relevant, would also be a prime selection. 

    There’s really not much particularly unique about scantily dressed girls posing for magazines, honestly, and little to no crossover appeal. The management and business involved isn’t pushing to broaden the audience, as is the case for music, and there isn’t really a compelling cultural argument here.

    And to switch hats, if I were such a model, I can’t see much sense in flying 13 hours each way to be stared at in person by foreigners who don’t buy the magazines I am paid to appear in. Not when I can make bank in Tokyo for personal appearances, during the relatively short window when I am still young and sexy.  (And that’s before you consider the unsavory types  that tend to be involved in those businesses. There are musical acts I was advised to avoid because of Yakuza involvement, and I am certain that would be an issue in the world of adult magazines.)

    If this really interests you, and you think it has broader appeal and something to teach us, start with a panel.  It’s  rare to see a well presented panel covering such content, though I’m sure someone out there could make a good one.  Until then , I don’t see anyone making it a priority, at any broad anime con.

     


  13. On 9/30/2018 at 8:49 AM, Chris Peterson said:

    I would like to request AmaLee/LeeandLie (Amanda Lee). She is a vocalist and voice actress. One of her bigger works is doing vocals for both the Japanese & English versions of Tokyo Ghoul:Re OST "Parabellum":

    https://youtu.be/Vv6gnmI_8Mo

    Voice Actress Dub roles: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card as Akiho Shinomoto, Overlord II as Crusch Lulu, Grimoire of Zero as Zero, Hinamatsuri as Anzu, Magical Girl Raising Project as Nemurin, and One Piece as Queen Otohime.

    It would be great because she hasn't been up to the North Eastern part of the US so none of the fans around Otakon have been able to meet her without a plane ticket and what not. Whether she's here as a musical act or Voice Actress, either would be amazing and she could easily be in either category. I really really hope we can get her out here. Thanks for considering this post.

    Her official site:

    https://www.leeandlieofficial.com/

    Her Twitter:

    https://twitter.com/AmaAmaLeeLee?s=09

    I know her. One reason her travel was limited for a while was the age of her kid. :)


  14. 20 hours ago, w-deremer said:

    Seiyuu

    ------------------

    Hayashibara Megumi (eternal wish list member #001)

     

    You and me both, buddy.

    We have come fairly close once or twice -- but that's a VERY tough nut to crack for many reasons.

    Closest I got personally was a direct conversation with her manager while she was performing twenty feet away.


  15. 19 hours ago, Krabstarr said:

    Secondly, the absence of the Otakon Game Show for a second year in a row has left a noticeable gap in programming, so I request/suggest bringing in Greg Wicker of Greggo's Game Shows to fill in the gap and present his game shows at Otakon. He is a long time veteran of the convention circuit and puts on anime themed game shows, both replicas of real TV game shows and original games. Some of the game shows, such as All Star Blitz or Hollywood Squares, aside from convention attendees as contestants, involve the participation of guests, making them particularly fun to watch. Another game, Know Your Role, has convention guests playing a game themselves and then answering questions about their previous roles or about their craft, so it makes an interesting alternative to just another Q&A session. Still other games, such as Strikeout, Anime Press Your Luck, or Definition, simply feature the attendee contestants, but are still a fun time for everyone in attendance.

     

    Greg's good, and I don't disagree he'd be an asset.  I'll pass along to the appropriate folks.


  16. On 8/14/2018 at 9:50 PM, UzumakiWarlord said:

    Indeed, regarding Steve Blum.  Especially since he's one of those guests that the staff haven't had for years (the last time he was a guest at Otakon was 2007).  It's the same case with some other guests like Monica Rial, Jamie Marchi, Chuck Huber, and at least a dozen others.

     

    I know I've spoken about this many times, but isn't there anyone on the staff who actually would like to see folks like Steve, Monica, and Jamie come back?  Are they even aware of how long it's been since they've been guests at Otakon?

    I'm sorry, but it's just very annoying and frustrating how it tends to take the staff forever to come around to have certain past guests to come back.  Even if there are some good, and justifiable reasons, it still doesn't change the fact that they've put off bringing certain guests back for too long.

    Despite my complaints, though, I do hope that at least someday the staff will come around to having Steve, Monica, and Jamie come back.  And just about any other previous guest that they haven't had for so long.  Where's the love for those people?

    Guys, Steve's a personal friend as well as a great guest. He likes our event. We had him at Otakon Vegas a few years back, and he snuck by the following year to surprise us. Monica Rial was one of the first guests who left me a voicemail, nearly 15 years ago. We aren't ignoring your repeated requests -- but you have to understand that it's not about the staff "coming around". It's about bringing a mix of guests who appeal to particular groups or tie into particular properties, as well as some veterans that are good value throughout.

    AND we're competing with production schedules and other commitments, and we're balancing cost and value. And we're competing with dozens of other shows.

    Wanting a guest does not guarantee the guest is available, or affordable, or in synch with what the industry is promoting or what's launching at any given moment.  Staff wanting a guest doesn't make it happen either -- there are plenty of folks I consider personal friends who simply aren't the right fit for a particular year, or can't make the scheduling work. 

    For example, we've been talking to Kawamori for years and this was the first time everything lined up properly.  It happens.

      I'm sure all of them will be here again.


  17.  

    Will there be any autograph sessions for Chris and Sean?

     

    Was wondering the same thing.

    Alabaster - Able to shed any light on this? And or what the description of "Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F OFFICIAL" is on the schedule?

     

     

    They'll be signing exclusively at the Funimation booth, as they are entirely sponsored by Funimation.  We'll try to post any other info we have.

     

    As for DBZ:  If we got a description, it should be posted into the schedule.  That's the big show-based panel and you can expect them to be at that.

    Apologies, folks, it's been a roller coaster as usual and i've spent most of my waking hours at work or doing Otakon stuff, so I've left you high and dry once the guests were announced.

     

    Sorry!

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